Gaming, Hands-On

Apex Legends – The Next Big Battle Royale Game?

Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment dropped a pretty big surprise last week. Not only did the studio announce a brand new game, Apex Legends, it’s also launching the game on the same day. Apex is a first-person battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe, and it appears to be a very promising game.

On top of that, much like Fortnite, Apex Legends is also free-to-play, making it accessible to pretty much anyone that has either a PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One. That’s right, the game is already available on these platforms.

I’ve spent a couple of hours playing through several matches in Apex Legends, and if you haven’t downloaded the game yet, you really should. It’s arguably the next big battle royale game, and it currently has over 25 million players already.

You read that right: only after a week since its launch, Apex Legends has attracted over 25 million players. Granted the game is a free-to-play title, but it’s still a huge milestone nonetheless. So what makes it such a popular game?

Let’s start with the basics of Apex Legends. Before you begin a match, you have to select between six different classes (or Legends, as they’re referred to in the game). In addition to the six default characters, there are also two additional classes that can be unlocked. You can do so by playing more matches to earn enough currency to unlock them, or buy them outright from the in-game store.

Apex’s different classes are similar to Overwatch’s unique characters, and each of the Legends in this game have their own set of skills. Bangalore, for one, can drop smoke bombs and call for an air strike, while a support character like Lifeline can heal up teammates and summon supply drops.

This adds a unique spin to Apex Legends’ gameplay, and the various skills of different classes is probably why the game is exclusively playable in squad mode (for now). A squad consists of three players, and even if you’re going into a match alone, you will always be paired to other players to form a three-man squad.

That being said, it’s possible Respawn will add solo and duo modes to Apex Legends in the future; that’s what a recent leak is pointing at. After all, other battle royale games allow players to play in various modes – it only makes sense for this game to follow suit.

In terms of gameplay, Apex Legends has very robust mechanics. You don’t get fall damage, moving around the map feels dynamic (especially when sliding down slopes), and most weapons in the game are fun to use. But you will have to get accustomed to the inventory system; it’s not particularly intuitive to juggle between different attachments and bullets you picked up.

What’s particularly impressive about Apex Legends’ gameplay is the excellent ping system. By clicking on your mouse’s scroll wheel, you can ping practically anything. Spotted an enemy squad? Ping them for your teammates to see. Want to move somewhere else? Ping at your desired location. It’s that easy and seamless, and it’s especially useful if you have a teammate without a mic.

I also love the fact that the number of squads left are always shown at the top left. The number of players left are also shown, though it will be hidden once the number of squads are down to a certain amount. Oh, if you’ve been eliminated, you can still be revived. As long as one of your teammates is still alive, they can revive you by taking your emblem to a respawn station.

Graphically, Apex Legends looks fantastic. The environment is very well rendered, character models are detailed, and I didn’t notice any major stutter or lag throughout my time with the game. Basically, it feels very polished and optimised, which is expected from a studio as established as Respawn.

However, I only played Apex Legends on PC so far, so I can’t say for sure if the game will run as smoothly on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems.

If you’re a fan of battle royale games, and you love first-person shooters, you should definitely give Apex Legends a spin. It’s a very polished, very entertaining battle royale game, and Respawn will be adding more content into the game in the near future.

Among them is the introduction of a seasonal battle pass system similar to Fortnite’s, which will offer character costumes, weapon skins, animations, and other cosmetic items. Besides that, Apex Legends will also have more purchasable classes than the current roster.

Don’t worry: these future classes can be unlocked without the need to spend actual money. You just need to earn enough in-game currency to unlock them.

Apex Legends holds a lot of promise, and if Respawn plays its cards right, Apex could very well be one of the most successful battle royale games. It’s free-to-play, it has great gameplay, and it’s a polished, optimised title. Hopefully, Respawn will be able to keep the game feeling fresh and engaging over the next few months.